PNB Fraud case: Nirav Modi, Choksi summoned by court under new fugitive offender law

Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

Mumbai, July 26 : A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai on Thursday  has issued fresh summons against PNB fraud accused Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi to appear before it, failing which they will be declared fugitive economic offenders.

The court acted  on the Enforcement Directorate’ plea that sought to declare them as ‘fugitive economic offenders’ and to confiscate their assets worth Rs 3,500 crore under the new fugitive economic offenders law in the alleged USD 2 billion PNB bank fraud case.

The court has directed Nirav Modi to appear before it on 25 September, Mehul Choksi has been asked to appear on 26 September.

This development comes after  government sources revealed that Diamantaire Mehul Choksi has moved to Antigua from the US and taken the passport of the Caribbean country as he has obtained citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Enforcement Directorate has been informed by Antiguan authorities that Choksi arrived there this month and had taken the passport of that country.

Choksi had fled the country in the first week of January, nearly a fortnight before weeks before country’s biggest banking fraud surfaced.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was passed by Parliament on Wednesday and is awaiting presidential assent.

The move comes as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now been given powers under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance to confiscate property in India and abroad.

The CBI, in its charge sheets filed on May 14, had alleged that Nirav Modi, through his companies, siphoned off funds to the tune of Rs 6,498.20 crore using fraudulent LoUs issued from PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai. Gitanjali Gems promoter Choksi allegedly swindled Rs 7080.86 crore, making it possibly the biggest banking scam in the country, it had alleged.

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